I’d never been to Southern Africa before, so when it came time to book my honeymoon this year, it seemed like a no-brainer to visit Botswana. It was a truly amazing trip – certainly one that I will never forget – and I have a feeling that I’ll be heading back to Africa time and time again now. Here are a few of my favourite highlights from my trip:
We started our trip in Chobe National Park in northern Botswana. While our days were spent on game drives, we usually spent our evenings on a boat in the river, where many animals came to get a drink of water before heading inland for the night. We came across a huge, ageing elephant on our first night; he was walking alone in search of food. I couldn’t believe how close he came to us! These guys are the real kings of the bush.
As we were driving home one evening, we came across a family of giraffes on the river bank… an African Abbey Road if you will.
After a relatively unsuccessful morning looking for lions, our guide, Chika, drove us to a viewing spot where elephants are normally seen near the water. Lo and behold, we saw this family (you can even see the partial trunk of a baby in there!) We never tired of seeing the elephants.
After Chobe, we headed down into the Okavango Delta, one of the world’s largest inland deltas. One of my favourite things about being down there was the sounds at night – birds, frogs and even hippos would sing us to sleep every night. This is a photo of a baby frog we went searching for one evening – we were so curious to see what animal made the beautiful noises we were hearing. He was tiny and it was incredible how our guide could spot him from so far away.
It was getting late one night on the river, so we had to speed back to our lodge. At one point, we turned a corner and came to this view of the sunset. They never get old.
One of the “surprises” of the trip was how excited we got about birdlife. Botswana is home to hundreds of species of birds, and they are all so fascinating (and beautiful!). This African barred owlet peeked out of the trees at dawn one morning.
We found this beauty lounging around one afternoon. Leopards can be frustratingly elusive, and when you finally see them, they tend to be lazying up in the trees with no intention of moving. What a life!
We decided to do an elephant interaction experience, which I can honestly say was one of the best experiences of my life. We were taken to meet Sandy and Doug, two amazing scientists who have dedicated their lives to protecting and re-habituating two elephants in the area. Here I am with Jabu, the first elephant they rescued from South Africa 28 years ago. As Jabu walked up to us in the morning, everyone was stunned into silence. He was so calm and beautiful – and absolutely enormous! After “getting to know him” a bit, we were allowed to take a few photos with him.
One of the last sunsets we saw over the water. As the sun came down, we saw millions of birds called the red-billed quelea fly home to nest for the evening (also pictured here). It was a truly spectacular sight.
If Leila’s trip has inspired you to visit the beautiful country of Botswana and its wildlife, one of our expert Africa travel designers can help you plan your perfect trip. Get in touch or call +44 (0)2035 536914